The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, marking the end of the full assembly of this department of the Holy See, called for vigilance and responsibility in protecting minors on Wednesday. He also spoke of the importance of a stable marriage between a man and woman to the child's future.
In his closing remarks for the congress, which was themed "The Rights of the Child," Cardinal Antonelli spoke of many activities that violate the rights of children today, reported Vatican Radio. He listed the use of children as soldiers, the involvement of children in organ transplants, domestic abuse, kidnapping, malnutrition, drugs, prostitution and pedophilia as among the most dramatic and serious abuses.
Citing statistics that draw a correlation between family life and certain risks to children, the prelate underscored that the role of the family is of vital importance to a child's future. He said that "so much is said of the rights of adults; it's time to give the priority to the rights of children."
This question doesn't include the “rights” of adults to have or not have children, Cardinal Antonelli underscored, but it's about "the right of the child to have a father and a mother that love each other and love him or her, to grow up together with them" or be adopted by a couple comprised of a man and a woman.
"If we looked at things from the point of view of the interests of the child," ventured the cardinal, "it would change the perception of divorce, of artificial procreation, of the claim of singles and homosexual couples to adoption, the priority given to the profession and the career... ."
He added that from the "child-perspective all reasons to concede matrimony or any other public recognition to a homosexual couple would be brought down... Matrimony, on the other hand, from the civil point of view, stands out in its full meaning in relation to children and the future of society, as an institution of protection and of ordered development."
"It's only because of children that sexual relations become important for society and deserving of being taken into consideration by a legal institution," Cardinal Antonelli said.
Sessions for the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family spanned three days and included presentations from a variety of scholars and clergy as well as round table discussion and dialogue among participants on the rights of children.